I completed a 14 day trip of the JMT this summer and learned some interesting things about meal preparation and menus.
In order to get 7 days of food into a Bearikade Weekender bear canister (650 cu in), I created my own recipes using dehydrated ingredients prepared with an Excaliber dehydrator. With careful preplanning and packaging, I created a 7 day resupply menu to fit into the canister for the section between Muir Trail Ranch and Mt. Whitney. I packaged each of these meals into separate ziplock bags. I made sure that each meal was different so that I did not get tired of eating the same recipe each day.
On the trail, a couple hours prior to eating, I would add water to the meal, double bag in case there was a leak, and place on the top of my pack. If the sun was shining, I took advantage of solar energy to preheat, speeding up the rehydration process.
When I found a great spot, I took a break from hiking and ate the meal with a spoon or bit the corner off the ziplock, squeezed the meal out. After the final meal of the day, I would walk another hour or so to find a nice campsite.
My basic menu:
A. Breakfast: a variety of muesli formulas fortified with nuts, powdered milk, honey, and dried fuits.
B. Lunch: dried humus fortified with dehydrated veggies, refried beans, split pea and black bean flakes, wrapped up in a tortilla.
C. Dinners consisted of 3 courses:
Split pea, black bean, or miso; still taste good with cold water.
The base ingredient was potato flakes (1/3 cup) to which I added some of the following:
1. dehydrated refried beans
2. split pea flakes
3. black bean flakes
4. dehydrated veggie powder made up of vegetables from my garden ( celery, chard, celantro, zucchini)
5. deydrated chicken or tuna (from grocery store)
6. a chicken or veggie broth package (from Trader Joes)
7. Seasoning, chalula sauce, and a tsp of olive oil
Vanilla pudding with a variety of ingredients (ground nuts, chocolate, or fruit leather)
Snacks: dehydrated persimmons, zucchini chips, dark chocolate, Pro Bars, GORP, electrolytes.
There are a lot of advantages to no cook menu: no stove means less weight in pack, menus are easy to prepare, no mess, no clean up (lick the spoon, and fold up the ziplock).
Now if I can only find a way to not come home with so many empty plastic bags...... I foresee the future when we can eat the "plastic" bags as part of a dessert. :)
Photos of my trip and meal preparation can be viewed at:
"When the weight goes down, the fun goes up" (WS Monty)